Pine Belt physician warns of measles exposure in Hattiesburg

Pine Belt physician warns of measles exposure in Hattiesburg

PURVIS, MS (WDAM) - Health officials are reminding residents it’s important to take precautions after a man infected with the measles stopped in Hattiesburg.

As Physician Robert Watson sees patients inside the Merit Health Medical Group’s Purvis clinic, he said he at this point he has not treated any cases of the measles. That’s good news, but he said Pine Belt residents should be on alert.

“As a matter of fact, they should be because this is a very contagious disease," Watson said. "From the time a person is exposed 10 to 12 days before you start showing signs and symptoms.”

Top officials from the Mississippi State Department of Health revealed a man infected with the measles traveled through Hattiesburg making two stops.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said people may have been exposed to the disease in the Subway restaurant inside the Circle K on U.S. Highway 11 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on April 9. A second stop at Raising Cane’s on Hardy Street April 10 between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. could have led to exposure.

Back inside the clinic, Watson described what could happen, if infected.

“First thing that shows up, little white spots show up on the inner sides of the jaw, koplik spots is what they are called," Watson said. "Then, the rash starts on the face, around the hair line and moves down to the neck and trunk then to the extremities.”

Four days before the rash appears and four days after is the most contagious time, Watson said. The measles is airborne and can be fatal for children and harsh on adults.

“If all their immunizations for the measles, mumps and rubeola were got during childhood, they are usually good for about 95 percent," Watson said. "However, there is still a possibility you could get it. I would recommend if there are any adults that not sure they received the immunization to see their health care provider.”

Dr. Watson said it’s important if you feel you have been exposed to the measles to contact your health care provider.

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